October 5, 2022


You are probably familiar with the word integrity.

But can you define it?

Maybe not...

It’s one of those words that most everyone is probably familiar with but that doesn’t seem to come up in conversation that much.

Here’s a definition from Google:

Integrity—the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

This definition sounds accurate to me, but I feel like it doesn’t clarify things that much.

Here are some quotes that I think help clarify more precisely what integrity is:

“Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain.”—Chris Karcher

“Integrity is doing as you say you would do even when no one is watching.”—Oprah Winfrey

“Courage combined with integrity is the foundation of character.”—Brian Tracy

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. Honesty is telling the truth to other people.”—Spencer Johnson

That last quote hits closest to home for me in terms of describing a specific meaning for integrity.

It’s NOT JUST having a moral compass.

It’s NOT JUST being honest with others.

It’s being honest with yourself.

This nuance makes lots of sense to me because of other derivations of the word.

For example, the word “integrate” means to combine one thing with another so that they become a whole.

So in a sense, if you lie to yourself (i.e., lack integrity), you are two things.

Not whole.

There’s a split inside of you.

A fracture in your character.

A weakness.

Here’s the thing...

Of course, nobody is perfect.

Which means that we can all strive to live with more integrity every day.

And the best part of all?

The payoffs go way beyond just business.